Missouri Senate

The Missouri Senate Chamber
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The Missouri Senate convened Monday afternoon preparing to debate next year's state budget, and almost immediately Senator Jason Crowell launched a filibuster.

The Republican from Cape Girardeau had promised weeks ago that he would block the budget over its use of one-time funds to fill holes in next year’s spending plan.  Gradually throughout the evening, other fiscally conservative Senators joined in, including Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph), and Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville).

Early on, Crowell spent part of the filibuster lampooning the Missouri House for cutting pensions for the blind.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has passed bills that would allow for more charter schools in the state and would also allow the state to take over failing school districts more quickly.

In a 31-2 vote Wednesday, the Senate gave final backing to a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited.

Kansas City and St. Louis are the only districts allowed to have charter schools under current Missouri law.

via Flickr | jennlynndesign

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.

The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month.  Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons.  Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that could allow charter schools to be formed outside of Kansas City and St. Louis.

In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would double the amount of time required for public school teachers to earn tenure.

Currently, a teacher has to work in the same school district for five years to earn tenure.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) would expand that requirement to 10 years.

“As long as the teacher does not own their job, if you will, then they’re going to be really working to prove (themselves) and do a good job," Cunningham said.  "It gives us five more years of encouraging and giving motivation to teachers to really produce.”

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Budget hearings have begun in the Missouri Senate, and already there are notable differences with the House in where that chamber wants to make cuts.

While the House budget would give state workers earning less than $70,000 per year a two percent raise, the Senate version would limit those raises to workers making less than $45,000 per year.  Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

(via Flickr/brains the head)

Updated 3:34 p.m. with correction from The Associated Press - the legislation was approved on a 26-5 vote, not a voice vote.

The Missouri Senate has approved legislation letting employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control in some instances.

The legislation, passed Thursday on a 26-5 vote, would let employers deny coverage unless an employee has a medical need for birth control. The measure now goes to the Missouri House.

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

The Missouri Senate today overrode a veto by Governor Jay Nixon (D) that would make changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system.

But the likelihood that the House will also override the Governor’s veto is virtually nonexistent, according to Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka).  He says they just don’t have the votes, even within their own party.

“We would have to first convince our caucus," Jones said.  "And even if we did, we’re still simply three votes short on a bill that no Democrat, I believe, has supported to this point…that’s a tough vote.”

Flickr/david_shane

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation making it a crime to disturb a religious worship service.

The bill given initial approval Wednesday would make it a misdemeanor to intentionally disturb or interrupt a "house of worship" with profane language, rude behavior or noise. The crime would be punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, with harsher punishment for repeat offenses.

(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

One day after the Missouri House gave first-round approval to the state budget, a state Senator is threatening to derail the entire budget process.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) is objecting to the use of one-time sources of money to plug holes in the FY2013 budget.  He singled out both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and House GOP leaders for plans to divert $40 million from a federal mortgage settlement to the state’s Higher Education budget.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Senate is considering legislation that would beef up security at the State Capitol.

The bill would increase the number of security cameras at the State Capitol and allow the Governor’s Office of Administration to hire private, armed security guards if needed.  It’s sponsored by Robin Wright-Jones (D, St. Louis).  She filed the bill shortly after someone placed rifle target stickers outside her office and the offices of several other Democratic Senators and one House Republican lawmaker.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Good morning! Here are some of the starting headlines of the day so far:

Nixon to hold news conference Tuesday on proposed cut in state aid to the blind

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking his case to the public to try to reverse a proposed cut in state aid to the blind. The Democratic governor is holding a news conference Tuesday in Columbia with leaders from organizations for the blind to oppose a cut made by the Republican-led House budget committee.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has sent the House version of the workplace discrimination bill to Governor Jay Nixon.

Senate Democrats spent five hours Wednesday blocking the bill before sitting down.  Today, there was no debate, only a 23 to 8 straight party-line vote.  Brad Lager (R, Savannah) handled the bill in the Senate.  He says he fully expects the governor, a Democrat, to veto the bill.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Update at 5:46 p.m.:

According to Mo. Sec. of State Robin Carnahan's office, Judge Daniel Green of the Cole County Circuit Court has denied the temporary restraining order. The decision means candidate filing for Missouri state Senate districts will begin Tuesday morning, as scheduled.

Updated at 4 p.m. with comments from plaintiff

There's another twist in the ongoing legal battle over the new districts for the Missouri State Senate.

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

A new measure passed in the Missouri Senate would limit statewide officials to eight years in office.

Missouri currently limits the governor and treasurer to two four year terms each. Members of the state House and Senate are also subject to term limits.

A proposed constitutional amendment would extend the two-term limits to the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would have moved back Missouri’s filing period for the August 7th primaries has been withdrawn from consideration by the State Senate.

Instead of debating the bill itself, some St. Louis-area Senators began criticizing the citizens’ commission that drew up the latest State Senate district map Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) and Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) both had harsh words for the proposed map, which would move Cunningham’s 7th District to the Kansas City area.

(Mo. Office of Administration)

A tentative agreement has been reached on a new redistricting map for the Missouri Senate.

A bipartisan commission appointed by Governor Jay Nixon (D) to draw a new map negotiated for more than 13 hours Wednesday, and reached a consensus after 12:00 this morning.  The "Tentative Plan" map can be viewed here.  Marc Ellinger is the top Republican on the 10-person commission.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Time is running out for a bipartisan commission tasked with agreeing on a new Missouri Senate district map. The filing period for senate candidates begins next week, but without definitive district boundaries, they won't know exactly which district they would be running to represent. 

The commission's chairman Doug Harpool says if seven of the ten commission members fail to agree on a map, a federal judge will be appointed to determine the district boundaries.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would move the candidate filing period for the August primary back by one month is now moving through the Missouri House.

On Monday it passed the House Elections Committee and it next goes to the Rules Committee.  However, House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) seems to favor an alternate approach:  Having a two-week filing period that would begin sometime in mid-March and end on March 27th as currently scheduled.

UPI | Bill Greenblatt

Missouri voters could get to decide whether to impose term limits on all executive officeholders under a proposal endorsed by the state Senate.

The proposed constitutional amendment would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor to serving two, four-year terms. A similar limit already is in place for Missouri's governor and treasurer. State lawmakers also are subject to term limits.

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